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March 25, 2005

Bulgarian Probe Finds No IRA Cash Laundering

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

BN 03/02/05
Bulgarian Probe Finds No Trace Of IRA Cash Laundering
PD 03/25/05 Man Of Peace Says His PieceMan Of Peace Says His Piece
SF 03/25/05 BBC Challenged Over Attitude To Easter Lily
SF 03/25/05 SDLP Accused Over Plastic Bullet Move
IO 03/25/05 McGlone To Fight McGuinness For Seat
IO 03/25/05 McCartneys Say IRA Has Readmitted Murder Suspect
BT 03/25/05 Arms Cache Haul Linked To Dissidents
UT 03/25/05 227 Jobs To Go At Shelbourne
HC 03/25/05 Luckily, Folk-Song Expert's Career Is A Long Time Passing


Bulgarian Probe Finds No Trace Of IRA Cash Laundering

Vasil Kirov

SOFIA (bnn)- Bulgaria’s chief financial intelligence official said Friday an investigation disproved suspicions that his country was implicated in attempts at laundering Irish Republican Army cash.

“There is no evidence of Bulgaria’s involvement in such a case,” Financial Intelligence Agency Director Vasil Kirov told a news conference in Sofia.

Authorities have been checking bank accounts and contacts of Irish businessmen Phil Flynn and Ted Cunningham, who traveled Bulgaria last January.

They were suspected at home of trying to launder IRA money. Irish police have seized a cache of GBP2.5 million (EUR3.6 million / US$5 million) in a country house Cunningham owns near the city of Cork. The money was presumably part of a GBP26.5-million (EUR37.9-million / US$53-million) loot from a Belfast bank robbery last December attributed to IRA.

The probe in Bulgaria found that Flynn and Cunningham had met Deputy Minister of Finance Iliya Lingorski and expressed interest to invest in property in the Balkan country.

They lodged EUR1, 000 (some US$1, 300) each in the Sofia-based Korporativna Banka AD (Corporate Bank Plc) and paid EUR58, 000 (some US$76, 600) to lawyers in the second biggest city of Plovdiv in expenses needed to establish and register several firms.

Kirov has previously said all payments Flynn and Cunningham made in Bulgaria were part of legitimate business activities.



Man Of Peace Says His Piece

Friday, March 25, 2005
Tom Feran
Plain Dealer Columnist

At the time of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, one of the lads came up with a fine idea for a TV commercial. It would open showing a couple of young men crouched behind a wall. One of them would leap to his feet, shout "Bleepin' Brits!" and hurl a rock at a tank.

"You've a strong arm!" his friend would exclaim in approval.

"Aye," the hurler would respond, sniffing and making a face. "A mite too strong!"

Then the friend would produce a bar of Irish Spring soap from his jacket, slicing it open to reveal bands of deodorant protection he'd declare "strong enough for a provo." The ad would end by shifting to a winking British soldier for a closing endorsement: "I like it, too!"

I remembered the idea last Friday, the day after St. Patrick's Day and a week before Good Friday, when Gerry Adams spoke at John Carroll University. It did not seem like something to bring up.

Adams, president of the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party, has troubles upon Troubles, and the time has not come when the outlawed and romanticized Irish Republican Army can be comically commercialized like a gang that couldn't shoot straight.

The IRA once was hailed for protecting Belfast's Catholic slums from vicious militia attacks. Now it's seen as morphing into the mob.

And Adams - reputedly a former IRA commander, now leader of the party considered the IRA's "political wing," a label he rejects - could be Michael Corleone in "Godfather III," complaining, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

If he was out. If he is in.

Adams was accurately introduced at John Carroll as a key figure advocating peace. He could as easily have been billed as the Lord of the Dance, even if some careful sidesteps took the place of a big leap.

It was Adams who pushed Sinn Fein into peace talks and helped bring about the IRA cease-fire that resulted in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. The accord promised self-government and rights to all sides in Northern Ireland, turning a violent conflict into a political one. The work made Adams, once barred from the United States for "espousal of political violence," an annual St. Patrick's Day guest at the White House.

He was shunned this year. The White House instead welcomed the sisters and fiancee of a Robert McCartney, a Catholic man murdered by IRA men at a Belfast pub in January - one month after a $50 million bank robbery, blamed on the IRA, which helped derail attempts to revive the Good Friday Agreement, suspended since 2002.

Those crimes and others tainted Sinn Fein, the majority nationalist party. Longtime friends called on Adams to demand the IRA disarm and disband. Half of Sinn Fein's supporters would agree.

In Cleveland, for the last and maybe biggest audience on his week in the United States, Adams danced.

"I don't distance myself from the IRA," he said, though "I'm not a member of the IRA."

Calls that he demand demobilization "show no sense of how you actually bring about what I think are proper objectives," he said. "One of the objectives set by Sinn Fein is to bring about conditions which bring about the end of the IRA" - such as a bill of rights, self-government, "a policing service that all of us feel confidence in" and an end to British occupation.

Until the conditions are met, he has the unappetizing choice between selling out in the eyes of hard-liners or endorsing a private army that gives new meaning to "Irish mafia."

He managed to do neither, which says as much as anything about his political skills, and he left his listeners laughing. You couldn't have asked for more in St. Patrick's week here, but they may want more in Ireland on Good Friday.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist: , 216-999-5433
© 2005 The Plain Dealer.


BBC Challenged Over Attitude To Easter Lily

Published: 25 March, 2005

North Antrim Assembly member Philip McGuigan has demanded that the BBC adopt the same policy towards the wearing of the Easter Lily as they do to the wearing of the poppy.

Mr McGuigan said:

"The BBC is a public body they expect without question nationalists and republicans to pay their wages through the licence fee yet it is an organisation hostile to their political objectives.

"Presenters are forced to wear the poppy symbol in the lead up to remembrance events in November regardless of their own political views, no such policy operates in relation to the Easter Lily. This is a clear case of political bias and discrimination. Either the BBC afford the Easter Lily the same respect as the poppy or they adopt a position of neutrality.

"The current situation of adopting a hierarchy of victims is unacceptable. The Irish Republican war dead have to be afforded the same respect as the British war dead. This is a black and white issue. The BBC can no longer be allowed to sit back and discriminate against the republican community in this fashion. To any impartial observer the BBC policy in relation to the wearing of symbols is biased and I believe flies in the face of the Good Friday Agreement demand that symbols be used sensitively." ENDS


SDLP Accused Over Plastic Bullet Move

Published: 25 March, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on policing issues Gerry Kelly has accused the SDLP 'of once again acquiescing to the continuing use of plastic bullets by the PSNI'. Mr Kelly's remarks come after the Policing Board of which the SDLP are a key component voted to introduce a new plastic bullet.

Mr Kelly said:

"Plastic bullets kill that is the bottom line. They are lethal devices and have no place in an acceptable policing service. The SDLP in public have consistently claimed to be opposed to the use of plastic bullets. They told us that through membership pf the Policing Board they would ensure the removal of Plastic Bullets. Yet on the Policing Board they have previously rubber stamped the purchase of thousands of these devices. Yesterday the Policing Board voted to introduce a new plastic bullet, the SDLP made noise but were ultimately powerless to prevent this and will without doubt go along with the decision of the Board. The SDLP have once again acquiesced to the continuing use of plastic bullets by the PSNI.

"The continuing use of Plastic Bullets by the PSNI causes great anger within the broad nationalist and republican community. The Sinn Féin position on Plastic Bullets is clear and unambiguous. We are absolutely opposed to the use of plastic bullets and have campaigned to have them removed for decades. The ongoing use of plastic bullets has of course formed part of our discussions with the British government on the wider issue of trying to achieve an acceptable and accountable policing service. Nationalists and republicans want to see plastic bullets removed not re-invented or re-branded by the Policing Board or the SDLP." ENDS


McGlone To Fight McGuinness For Seat

25/03/2005 - 09:46:56

Patsy McGlone has been selected as the SDLP candidate for Mid Ulster in the forthcoming general election.

The Mid Ulster MLA was unanimously chosen at a selection convention held in Cookstown, Co Tyrone, last night.

He will now fight for the seat occupied by Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness.

Mr McGlone was proposed by Councillor Joe McBride and seconded by Councillor Mary Baker.

Speaking to delegates at the meeting, Mr McGlone said: “I am very proud to have been selected by the delegates here tonight from throughout South Derry and East Tyrone.

“In this election people will make a very clear choice when they vote SDLP. They will be voting for a new Ireland and a new future.”


McCartneys Say IRA Has Readmitted Murder Suspect

25/03/2005 - 09:56:56

The family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney has claimed the IRA has allowed one the men it expelled over his role in the murder back into its ranks.

The IRA expelled three members who they say were involved in the killing of the Short Strand father of two outside a Belfast bar. But now the McCartney family claim that one of them has been allowed to rejoin the IRA ranks.

Paula McCartney accused the IRA of contradicting itself.

"They have admitted that this person was indeed a criminal, they expelled him from their ranks because he was a criminal and now he's been brought back in again," she said.


Arms Cache Haul Linked To Dissidents

By Jonathan McCambridge
25 March 2005

Two men were being questioned last night following the seizure of a firearms cache in west Belfast linked to dissident republicans.

The weapons haul, which included five real and replica handguns, a shotgun and an AK 47, was seized by police following searches of eight houses.

Three vehicles were also seized as well as ammunition and component parts for an explosive device.

Detectives have also recovered a notebook containing the personal details of members of the security forces, believed to be both military and police.

The raids were carried out as part of an ongoing intelligence-led investigation by the Organised Crime branch with assistance from local police.

The operation has been continuing for most of this week following an operation into an alleged extortion racket against members of the Travelling community.

Sources close to the operation said it was linked to the dissident republican Continuity IRA.

It is understood that the haul is connected to arrests made earlier this week for extortion against a family of Travellers in the Dargan area of north Belfast.

Police found the weapons in the boot of a car at Broadway on Tuesday.

Meanwhile a 51-year-old man appeared at Craigavon Magistrate's Court last night charged with membership of the Continuity IRA.

The man is accused of being a member of the dissident republican group between 1996 and March 22, 2005.

He was also charged with causing an explosion with intent to endanger life at Lurgan Golf Club on June 14 last year.

He was further charged with attempting to cause an explosion with intent to endanger life at Rosslea PSNI station in October 2003.

The charges follow a planned police operation in the Fermanagh area earlier this week.


227 Jobs To Go At Shelbourne

227 staff are to lose their jobs at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin.

Forty million euro is to be spent on upgrading the property at St Stephen`s Green.

But it is to close for 18 months for refurbishment, leading to the job losses.

A statement from the hotel says consultations with employees and union representatives have taken place.


March 24, 2005, 7:07PM

Luckily, Folk-Song Expert's Career Is A Long Time Passing

By Eileen McClelland

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

• Free concert: 8 p.m. Monday at Willy's Pub in the basement of Rice Memorial Center at Rice University.

• Tuesday lectures: At 11 a.m., Hickerson will discuss intellectual property, copyright and sound archives. At 2 p.m. he will present the lecture "O Brother, Where Have All the Song Catchers Gone?" Both talks will be in the Kyle Morrow Room on the third floor of Rice's Fondren Library.

Joe Hickerson says he liked folk music as a kid because of its do-it-yourself sensibility.

That early affinity — he's too modest to call it a gift — for learning and singing folk songs blossomed into a lifelong vocation. The results?

A master's degree, complementary careers as a singer and folk-culture archivist, a songwriting credit on a '60s hit and three solo recordings on the Folk-Legacy label.

Hickerson says some of his success is due simply to luck. He's not really a songwriter, he says, but he shares writing credits with Pete Seeger on Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

He heard an early, obscure recording of the song and just added to it — in the do-it-yourself tradition.

"It was only three verses," he says. "I was singing it with friends, and before we could really get into the harmonies and choruses, it was over. It occurred to me how to connect soldiers to flowers, and I wrote two more verses, then I repeated the first verse at the end, making it a six-verse song."

He taught the longer version to kids and staff at Camp Woodland in the Catskills, where he was working as a counselor in the summer of 1960.

"I knew Pete, and Pete came over to the camp, and he was tuning up for the evening concert, and they started singing Where Have All the Flowers Gone? And they sang the fourth and fifth verses. Pete asked me where that came from, and I said I had written it."

The longer version caught on and was recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary. It was also recorded by Marlene Dietrich, Olivia Newton-John, Joan Baez and the Kingston Trio, whose version had the greatest chart success — No. 21 in 1962.

"I got credit in terms of royalty and a few statements in sheet music, but most of the time it just said Pete Seeger," Hickerson recalls. "Within a few years the song was so widespread that people didn't remember Pete Seeger wrote it — let alone me, which is the way folk songs are; they become everybody's property and everybody sings it — if it's good enough, I guess."

Seeger has called him a great song leader.

In his first visit to Houston, Hickerson will perform a free concert Monday at Rice University. Tuesday he'll present two talks related to folk music.

Hickerson, born in 1935, writes occasionally. But he said there's no need to make his job as a folk singer more difficult. "There are plenty of good songs out there, and it's hard enough to remember those. I perform anything in the English language that I like and can remember. That last part gets more and more important as I mature."

Since 1953, Hickerson has performed — singing and playing guitar — more than a thousand times at venues ranging from festivals to coffeehouses in the United States and Canada, Finland and Ukraine, and for the radio show Prairie Home Companion. His repertoire ranges from labor songs and children's songs to parodies, Irish-American songs and sea songs.

Originally "I took it up because the songs were very interesting, and they were about real people and political causes that I was familiar with," Hickerson says.

He is also retired from a position as head of the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress. He has worked as a research consultant for the films O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Cold Mountain.

His talk, titled "O Brother, Where Have All the Song Catchers Gone?," will be partly a history of folk songs and the process of collecting, recording and archiving them in the United States and particularly in Appalachia, as depicted in the movie Songcatcher.

One of the earliest recordings of a song was made in 1890, of a 60-year-old Passamaquoddy Indian singing a ritual snake-dance song. The recording was made on a wax-cylinder machine, an invention of Thomas Edison.

Recording equipment used before magnetic tape recorders were introduced in the 1940s were extremely cumbersome. "Those early machines were called portable, meaning you could put them in the back of your pickup truck," he said. "They weighed 100 or 200 pounds."

His career as an archivist was another stroke of luck, he said.

After graduating from Oberlin College, where he was president and founder of the Oberlin Folk Song Club, Hickerson heard about a program at Indiana University offering graduate work in folkloric music.

"I hadn't a clue as to what I would do with it, but it worked out," he says. "I lucked out. I got asked to apply for a job at the Library of Congress."

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